Beyond DJIA 20,000: What Could Drive the Dow to 22,000 in 2017

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With 2016 winding down, some investors are looking backward to see what worked and what did not. With a 14% rally in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) this year, the more important issue to consider is what investors should expect for 2017. The Dow has been within 1% of 20,000 for days now. What if the Dow actually manages to hit 22,000 in 2017? It may be far more possible than most investors might imagine.

24/7 Wall St. has evaluated many of the preliminary views for key companies and industries ahead. Regardless of which candidate voters favored, it is now very hard to find investors who do not view the markets more favorably and more pro-business with higher growth environment. After all, the 8.5% rally in the Dow since the November 8 election is almost unprecedented and is too large to merely assign as a coincidence or as a relief rally.

Investors have bought every major market pullback for about six years now, and the bull market is rapidly approaching eight years old. Investors are looking for value and overlooked growth, and they are even looking for upside in popular names that simply have more upside to run. It turns out that many of the 30 DJIA stocks have a consensus analyst price target from Thomson Reuters that calls for substantial upside in the next 12 months. And then investors get to add in the dividends as well.

The pro-growth strategies laid out ahead have been a boom for infrastructure companies tied to all sides of major engineering projects and those that process or mine materials. Then there is a lower-regulation and higher-rate environment driving financials and cyclicals. And of course those companies ready to repatriate over $1 trillion in overseas cash are expected to face a much more reasonable corporate tax environment versus other countries.

Before just assuming that Dow 20,000 will come and turn into 22,000, it is important to reflect on some real issues. Rallies of this magnitude are rarely, if ever, followed by a straight line higher. Many investors put off traditional year-end profit taking due to expecting lower capital gain taxes in 2017. Many Dow and S&P stocks are now also valued above or very close to their consensus analyst target prices. Many of the Trump-beneficiary stocks also have rallied to the point that much or all of the good news for 2017 already may have taken place. What if the Federal Reserve raises rates more than expected? Will the political infighting of the past decade continue ahead? Also, and sadly, analysts can simply end up being wrong. And we almost never hear about geopolitical risks right now. All of these are risks to the rally not facing a pullback.

24/7 Wall St. showed a preliminary bull-bear case for the Dow in 2016 at 19,700. The Dow was valued just above 19,200 on December 6 when we first looked at a Dow 20,000+, and the Dow has now hit a high of 19,987 as of December 29.

Here are some of the key driving forces that could help the Dow Jones Industrial Average get closer to 22,000 in 2017.

Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) already has risen to above $240.00 in 2016, and the shares are up 32% just since November 8. Its stock price has passed its $229.00 consensus analyst price target. One reason the Dow has outperformed the S&P 500 since the election is that the Dow’s price-weighted valuation (rather than market cap-weighted for other indexes) is dominated by Goldman Sachs’ 8.3% index weighting, almost three-times the average Dow stock’s weighting. It has accounted for close to one-fourth of the Dow’s post-election gain.

Some analysts see even more bright skies ahead for Goldman Sachs. Outside of the company landing two top positions in the upcoming administration, HSBC is calling for a $250 target and Deutsche Bank now has a $255 target. If lower regulation allows for more trading, Goldman Sachs’ profit history could dictate even better earnings and far more upside than its paltry 1% dividend yield.

Apple

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was last seen trading at close to $117, and its 52-week high is just $118.69. Apple’s consensus price target is now up at $132.00 and has climbed slowly higher for months. Apple’s 2% dividend yield could rise handily if the company repatriates its massive overseas cash sum of close to $200 billion, and Apple is valued at only about 11 times next year’s earnings estimate.

Credit Suisse just on December 6 reiterated its Outperform rating and $150 price target for Apple with hopes of iPhone 8 super-cycle. Recent reports of the big product being an iPhone 7s in 2017 could jeopardize that, but Apple has the largest cash trove of all companies (by far) and it buys back large amounts of stock. Apple’s 52-week trading range is $89.47 to $118.69, its market cap is $622 billion and its weighting of 4.03% in the Dow is ranked just 10th out of 30 index components.

Cisco Systems

Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) has recovered to $30.50, and its consensus analyst target is $33.11. It also has close to a 3.4% dividend yield, and the company is a monster when it comes to buying back shares. Cisco shares are valued at 12 times forward earnings. They are still about 10% shy of its 2007 high, and the share price is still less than half of its all-time back in the tech bubble peak in 2000.

The 52-week range here is $22.46 to $31.95, and the market cap is $153 billion. RBC just named it among the top tech picks for 2017 and the firm is calling for a $35 share price for Cisco.

Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) has been a sleeper, but what if 2017 is the breakout year for the sugar-water giant? Its $41.40 share price is well shy of the consensus price target of $45.75, and the 3.4% dividend yield would imply north of 15% upside. The stock is valued at 20 times expected earnings per share.

Despite being more dependent on sugary beverages than rival Pepsi, the reality is that Coca-Cola has been diversifying away from its name brand for years. The stock has been a sleeper for so long, and it mostly has been in a $39 to $44 trading band for the past three years. Coca-Cola still has global expansion opportunities and cost containment opportunities ahead, and it is possible that value investors will begin to focus on what may be a defensive stock with limited downside. Coca-Cola also has raised its dividend for more than 50 years and has a market value of close to $180 billion.